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‘Desam Kaappom’ conference

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Setting the stage for a united opposition at a public conference titled ‘Desam Kaappom’, organised by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) here, DMK president M.K. Stalin made a call to isolate the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking at the well-attended conference at G-Corner grounds along the Chennai Bypass Road, Mr. Stalin said the BJP had turned out to be a dangerous party, as it was trying to deny social justice. It had no sympathy for the economically and socially suppressed people. It continued to curtail their rights on various aspects. The time had come to show the door to the Narendra Modi government, he said.

It was with the intention of liberating the country from the clutches of BJP that 22 political parties had lined up on a stage at a massive rally in Kolkata recently, Mr. Stalin said. They had vowed to join hands to defeat the right wing forces. The attempts of Mr. Modi to return to power should be prevented. The parties in the State should also work hard to defeat the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government.

VCK founder Thol. Thirumavalavan said the right wing forces, which had fanned out to different parts of the country, had been working overtime to institutionalise their agenda, which was oppressive in nature.

The saffron party had been following a divisive approach towards the Tamils on various issues. It imposed the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) against the wishes of the people. It had curtailed the genuine chances of thousands of economically and socially backward students.

Sitaram Yechury, general secretary, Communist Party of India (M), said the BJP was spearheading a mute campaign that the opposition was spineless without a strong leader. The taunt was aimed at undermining the strength of the opposition. An alternative leader would certainly emerge to lead the country similar to Manmohan Singh in 2004 elections by defeating the BJP.

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Widening gap

Elaborating on the increasing gap between haves and have-nots, Mr. Yechury said the net worth of billionaires in the country had been increasing steadfast day by day. A few billionaires had been effectively controlling the economy. The net worth of a billionaire was equivalent to the net worth of about 50% of Indians. Such was the status of economic and financial inequality in the country. Instead of uplifting the economically and socially weaker sections, the policies and programmes of the Centre had only benefited the corporates.

Sudhakar Reddy, general secretary, Communist Party of India, said the parliamentary system was facing threat under the BJP government, which, he said, had been weakening the statutory bodies including Reserve Bank of India (RBI) by interfering in their autonomy on a day-to-day basis. The country had witnessed a number of attacks on Muslim minorities and Dalits from Gujarat to Utter Pradesh. The CPI had difference of views on various issues with other opposition parties, but, it had come forward to work with like-minded parties to throw out the government. It was high time the opposition parties stood united to liberate the country from the clutches of right wing forces in the 2019 elections.

Pressing issues ignored

MDMK general secretary Vaiko said the Narendra Modi government had failed to listen to the aspirations of Tamil Nadu on various pressing issues. Mr. Modi had not even bothered to visit the affected areas when Gaja cyclone left a trail of destruction on the livelihood of thousands of people in the State. The people were waiting for an opportunity to vote out the BJP government.

Narayanasamy, Chief Minister, Puducherry, said the BJP government was misusing the Central agencies to stifle the voices of leaders of opposition parties.

Thirunavukarasar, president, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, K. Veeramani, president, Dravidar Kazham, K.M. Kader Mohideen, president, Indian Union Muslim League, M.H. Jawahirullah, president, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and others spoke.

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